Will We Ever See a New Country Added to EPCOT?

Today’s question is pretty straight-forward.  Will we ever see a new country added to EPCOT?  The World Showcase has not added a new country to its lineup of nations since Norway joined in 1989.  And NO, the Frozen additions to the Norway pavilion do not count as a new country.  At times, the World Showcase can feel very stale as many of the movies have not been updated in many, many years.  It is also very light on attractions with just two countries: Mexico and Norway that have attractions.  Yes, I know Norway’s attraction is become Frozen-ified.  Yes, it’s sad but things and times change and we have to adapt.

There is plenty of room in the World Showcase for a new country to move in:

photo from yesterland.com
photo from yesterland.com

Expansion area #1 is out.  That space is going to be taken by expansion of the Norway pavilion to accommodate guests, a new Frozen meet-and-greet, and expansion to what was Maelstrom.  Expansion areas #7 and #8 currently house World Showcase buildings which are used during such events as the Food and Wine Festival.  The American Adventure needs the space around it because of the forced perspective to give the look that the buildings are smaller than they appear.

As a result, the best slots for expansion are areas 2-6.  The area around 2 and 3 is the best place for expansion since it has the most room.  However, it is also the current location of the African Outpost.  Ideally, any new country would be an African country to keep the general flow and feel of the World Showcase the same.  The question becomes what African countries are willing to move into this space?

There is a myth out there that the country has to bankroll the construction of the pavilion.  The country does not have to bankroll construction.  However, they do have support the pavilion with cast members from the countries, provide access to native resources (ex. water from Naples for the pizza dough at Via Napoli). etc.

Another thing to consider is: can the country bring anything different to the World Showcase table?  A country like Switzerland could be a great addition to the World Showcase.  It could bring a fondue restaurant (both cheese and chocolate) and possibly a Matterhorn attraction to the World Showcase.  I know people who might never leave the pavilion.  But what does Switzerland add that France, Italy, and Germany don’t already bring to the table.  Switzerland borders all three countries and culturally it is a melting pot of all three nations.

The last thing to consider is: Is the country willing to come into the World Showcase?  The general public and even Disney might think a particular country would be a great addition to the World Showcase.  However,if the country isn’t willing to come to Disney and the World Showcase, then it’s just a pipe dream.  There are some countries which would be great additions to the World Showcase but for a variety of reasons the country balks at joining the World Showcase lineup.

In conclusion, do I think that we will ever see new country added to the World Showcase?  Yes, I think we will.  I think the World Showcase will be around for a long, long time.  At some point, Disney will approach a country about joining the World Showcase and the stars will lineup and we will have a new country in the World Showcase.

Now the last question.  What country do I think will be added to the World Showcase?  I put this question up for debate in the early days of the blog.  I think there are five prime candidates for a new World Showcase country:

  • Argentina (excellent wineries, Spanish and Italian influence, only negative – terrible currency and debt situation)
  • Australia (diverse English-speaking culture, good relations with countries in the World Showcase, permanent fixture at Food and Wine Festival)
  • Brazil (excellent steakhouse, Portuguese culture, thriving economy)
  • India (Large population mostly untapped by US Disney parks, unique style of cuisine to World Showcase,)
  • Russia (Large country by land mass, good population for Disney to tap into, strained relations with US at times, sinking economy)

Thanks for reading!

24 thoughts on “Will We Ever See a New Country Added to EPCOT?”

  1. Puerto Rico. Great flavors. Great folkloric rhythms. Afro, European and native Indian cultures. I can see all the aspects, from the look of the pavilion to the gift shops and what would be in them to the restaurants, both the formal and the cafeteria style one, to the show!!!

  2. 1) I think a great addition might be South Korea (yes, another big eastern Asian country but vastly different culture and cuisine from the other two.) I certainly think that korean kids and college students would love to come and work at Disney too.

    2) I’m suprised Ireland hasn’t been done. But I suppose that the disney view of fairies might make some irish people squirm. (The fae are something that most people avoid in tradional irish mythology ). They could also play on Gaelic pipe (which are less severe than bagpipes). Serve, yes, fish and chips but also Sheppard’s pie and, of course, lots of beer.

    3) Belgium is small but famous for their beer (best in the world, ) chocolate, and Fries. (Btdubs- french fries are actually belgium fries.)

    4) India would be fabulous…but what part of India? Some much diversity.

    5) Brazil? They could open up a Brazilian steakhouse. Oh goodness. That would be amazing. Dances, colors, the beauty. It would be amazing too. (This is really a must)

    6) For Africa they already have Marocco.
    But they could also do Etheopia (amazing, amazing food again- and in every big city you can find it which means there is already a sizable Etheopia population in the usa .) Coffee is also be lived to have originated there and it’s reaaaallly good too.
    And Etheopia has 8 world heritage sites!

    -signed a cultrual anthropologist.

    1. If Epcot did build a South Korea pavilion, they should not build the Demilitarized Zone (the border with North Korea).

  3. How about Greece, one of the most beautiful countries and its unique white houses of Santorini? ? Spain with Barcelona, Seville, Madrid? Holland with its canal village? The Caribbean? Havana? Thailand? Israel?

  4. Nice blog, and some good analysis of how reviving the World Showcase is trickier than it seems.

    I hope that if another country is added, it will address the weirdest omission- not a single country from below the equator! Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa- like South Africa- could work. Or most of South America- Argentina and Brazil were both great suggestions. Australia and Indonesia (maybe focusing on Bali?) could also be great.

    It’s just a little north of the equator, but Singapore could also be a nice concept. It’s insanely rich, it’s trying to boost tourism, and would likely support an international exhibition in any way possible. And it’s a unique melting pot of Chinese, Malay, and Indian influences.

  5. Brazil or Argentina a soccer Mecca would go over great! Right now soccer is barely represented. We toured Epcot with my teenage son to find soccer gear from around the world and we were disappointed to find the worlds largest sport so under represented.

  6. Republic of Chile would be a great edition. It has very tall mountains – which could give Epcot the mountain ride its been lacking. It borders Argentina, Peru and Bolivia – all great contenders, too, but Chile is a more stable government that is democratic and has a better established economy.

    Since Chile has an enormous sea coast, a Chilean restaurant would bring a much needed seafood option to Epcot. Also, it is a country most aren’t that familiar with, giving that ‘edutainment’ quality that Epcot strives for.

  7. Greece is the most obvious choice! Shoe horn a Hercules meet and greet spot in a Zeus temple add some traditional white buildings and great greek food!

  8. I’d say one of the few countries to add should be the Netherlands. Well, the USA started as partly a Dutch, and then British, colony. So, there’s the Dutch influence. The Netherlands is also said to be one of the most liberal countries in Europe, and that part of the U.S. Constitution came from it. And so on.

    I’d say another country should be Russia. Well, the USA has had like a love/hate relationship with Russia, there was the Cold War between the two, and now is like a return of that. So, seeing the other side of Russia, like with culture.
    I’d say another country should be Australia. Both the USA and Australia have English as the main language, Australia is about the same size as the continental USA, and so on. (Maybe some of New Zealand could also be included.)

    I’d say another country should be South Africa. Well, some Americans and South Africans have said that there should be more cultural exchanges between the two countries. South Africans generally tend to have a fascination for all things American. The two countries have also had similar histories. For instance both started out as partially Dutch and then British colonies.
    It also seems that often whatever happens in the one country also happens in the other. For instance, in 1994 both countries moved more away from isolation and into the international community. In South Africa it was with the first democratic elections, and in the USA it was with the Soccer World Cup. (And then, South Africa moved more towards that with the 2010 Soccer World Cup.)
    South Africans in the USA, and Americans in South Africa (There are for instance 4000 at Cape Town.) can have a blending of the two cultures.
    I’d say an example of cultural exchanges is with food, and an example is pumpkin recipes. Another example is with music, and an example is country music. (Maybe some of Namibia could also be included.)
    It could also help remove the untrue belief about Africa being a country. The ‘Outpost’ site tends to encourage that belief.

  9. A country from South America would be great, but which one? Since any (or none) of them would be fine, how about just a “South America” pavilion? Then all of those countries would be represented without having to choose one of them!

    Australia is an obvious choice and off the beaten track.

    India is another obvious choice and would bring some interesting architecture to the park.

    Russia is a possibility due to its different culture, but they would have to represent themselves better on the world stage first before being represented in the World Showcase.

    I do like the idea of Greece, but many countries in Europe are already represented. If I was going to add another European country, I would probably go with Spain. I could see a very unique and interesting pavilion coming from them.

    Lastly, Thailand should be considered (with some other countries in Southeast Asia represented as well). Interesting culture, architecture and food and not at all like the other Asian countries represented.

  10. Russia for sure! It would be awesome to experience the culture and food, not to mention, the diverse and rich history of Russia as well. I would love to see what landmark they would use to represent the country, Whether it be the Kremlin or the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg.

  11. I think Peri would be a great choice. They have a unique style cuisine (ceviche, lomo saltado, etc). Machu Picchu could be the landmark it features. The Pisco Sour is the national cocktail so the bar could offer that. AND it could feature characters from Emperor’s New Groove!

    Really any South American country would be the logical choice. It’s an amazing continent filled with a bunch of different cultures and cuisines. Sadly Latin America just gets lumped in with Mexico, a country that is purely individual and unique to itself.

    I think a Greece/Hercules feature would be great but I don’t think the country is in a place where they’d want to do it.

    Australia would be interesting. They could have The Rescuers!

  12. I love the idea of Brazil being added to world showcase. I would love to see a steakhouse as well as an Amazon river ride, carnival costume shop, etc. However, are the new nighttime additions to AK an oversight to the lack of new countries at EPCOT?

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